2NE1 Fandom Case Study

Survey Data

Fans of 2NE1, Blackjacks ( signifies the card game "21" that also gestures towards the group's name) are fans of the group for a variety of reasons. These responses were collected from a convenience sample of 100 responses collected between December 7, 2012 and April 29, 2013. These responses generated 244 significant statements, which were analyzed using the phenomenological method.

Concept

Fans often described 2NE1’s concept of women as “fierce” and “independent.”   One fan wrote:  “ I am all for the strong and independent type of women in the media and that's exactly what they are. They brought strength and power from the very beginning. 2NE1 showed that K-pop needed a different spin on how women are betrayed in the industry.”  Some fans contrasted 2NE1’s image to the “cute” concept often found in K-pop: “So to see a group that focuses on how strong women can be and how sexy women can be without the overuse of 'cute' is something that drew me in immediately.”  Another fan commented on the group’s uniqueness:  “They are celebrated by fans for stepping outside the box and being original. These ladies also know how to change it up from time to time, as their acoustic work can attest to.”

Appearance

Despite what some fans see as a challenge to concepts for girl groups in K-pop, other fans found 2NE1 appealing for their appearance.   Some respondents focused on the fashion sensibility of the group:  “ I also like their fashion, no matter how weird it might get sometimes.”  Many, like this respondent, found their unique fashion sensibility appealing:  “They brought out a new attitude and fashion statement, that women can look good in whatever they wear, whether it be in a mini dress or flat out jeans and a jacket.”  Others focused on the attractiveness of the members.  One noted:  “THEY'RE ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS.”  Another found the members appealing “because of their beautiful faces.” 

Diversity

Several fans believed that 2NE1 was a diverse group.  Some found diversity among the personalities of the members:  “This is all done because they group is very diverse with each girl being so different from one another.” Another noted:  “I can also appreciate the sense of individuality that 2NE1 offers within the group itself. It's rather apparent that each member is different in both looks and personality by just watching them perform.” 

Focus on Individual Members

Perhaps because of the range of distinct personalities, fans also spoke about individual members of the group, in addition to the group as a whole.  One respondent noted:  “I love that CL has so much charisma on stage, but off stage, she is a normal girl that has a passion for fashion.”  Another wrote:  “Because I like Dara a lot. I'm a Filipino and Dara lived in the Philippines for quite some time. I knew her first here in the Philippines and when I came to know that she was a member of 2NE1, I supported the group as well.”  Another responded:  “Minzy is the youngest, but one of the best dancers, and probably one of the best all around in terms of 2NE1.”   Still another noted:  “Bom is an amazing singer, and is 4D character.” 

Personality

Despite their fierce reputation, fans also found the members’ personality to be appealing.  One thought they were “they're fun and easy to relate to. “  Like other K-pop groups, these perceptions are gained from watching appearances on variety and behind-the-scenes shows:  “I stumbled [on]to their reality show called 2ne1 TV, and I fell in love with their personality. They didn't try hard but just [tried to] be who they are, and that's the plus point for them because they have a distinct personality that me [and] fans can relate to.”